Received a Party Wall Notice?
You've just received a Party Wall Notice but what does it mean? Watch the video below to find out more.
What does it mean?
If you have received a party wall notice it means your neighbour or adjoining owner intends to carry out building works that fall under the party wall act and are building works that could affect your property and therefore require your consent.
These works should be stated within the notice, but will typically consist of one or more of the following;
1. Construction of a wall on or astride the line of junction (boundary line) that may or may not have footing that projects onto your land - a rear extension for example.
2. Demolition of a wall on the line of junction.
3. Works to a party wall, cutting in a steel for a loft conversion, cutting in lead flashing, installing a damp-proof course (to name a few).
4. Alterations, including demolition to a Party Fence Wall (a masonry wall on the boundary in your garden).
5. Excavations on their land within 3 or 6 meters of any part of your building IF any part of those excavations are deeper than the lowest part of your structure (typically your foundations). This is included within the act (hence the "etc.") as these works have the potential to undermine the stability of your building.
6. The building of "Special Foundations" - typically associated with the increasingly popular basement conversions we are seeing in London.
What are my options after receiving a Party Wall Notice?
Agree to the Works
BTN Surveyors always believe that avoiding a dispute is, where possible the best course of action.
However it is very important that:
A. The notice you have received is valid, in that the correct sections of the act have been identified against the proposed works, that you have been given the appropriate information and notice prior to the works taking place.
This is important so you fully understand the scope of the works, the potential risks and associated consequences. This ensures in the event of a dispute arising that the dispute can be handled through the Party Wall Act, avoiding the need to go to court, saving time and potentially a lot of money.
If you are in any doubt you should contact BTN Surveyors immediately for a Free Consultation.
B. That a detailed Schedule of Condition is taken of your property prior to the work taking place. This should be done by a suitable Party Wall Surveyor and usually at the expense of the building owner proposing to do the work.
This report is for the benefit of both owners ensuring if any damaged is caused due to the works taking place that the damage can be proved to of occurred whilst works are being undertaken.
Ignore the Party Wall notice
This is not an approach we recommend, we only mention it because it is a strategy some seem to adopt. It will result in one of two outcomes, depending on the proposed works and neither are advantageous when compared using your other options;
1. You will be deemed to accept the work and the building owner can commence building works upon the expiry of the notice period.
2. You will be deemed to have dissented, in which case you must either agree to appoint the building owners Party Wall Surveyor as an "Agreed" surveyor or appoint a different Party Wall Surveyor as the "adjoining owners surveyor".
Dissent to the works
You will now need to either agree to appoint the building owners Party Wall Surveyor as an "agreed" surveyor or should you prefer you are at liberty to appoint an additional party wall surveyor to act on your behalf, who will be known as the "adjoining owners" surveyor.
The two appointed surveyors will then appoint a "Third Surveyor". The building owners surveyor and the adjoining owners surveyor will then work together to agree an Party Wall "Award" or Party Wall Agreement.
The third surveyor will only be called upon if an agreement cannot be reached by the two appointed surveyors. Each owner is also at liberty to contact the third surveyor directly if they feel that the two surveyors are not performing adequately, although caution should be used in contacting the third surveyor as this will inevitably incur additional costs.
In either case the cost of the Party Wall Surveyor(s) and the Schedule of Condition will (usually) be met by the building owner wishing to carry out the works.